It’s easy to think “travel” and associate it only with the exotic. I imagine exciting exploration, far corners of the earth, and passports filled to the brim. While there are many kinds of travel, we usually don’t associate the same sort of “adventure” with life back at home. This poses a problem, a crisis, even, for those of us who must settle back into post-trip life right where we started.
One of Rolf’s most helpful pieces of Vagabonding for me relates to reverse culture shock; to the new challenges of “re-entry” into the adventure-less mundane life where we left it. How could settling into Portland Maine ever compare to island hopping in southern Thailand or climbing Nepal’s Annapurna mountains? After reading a Portland travel & lifestyle magazine from cover to cover, I realize: life at “home” doesn’t have to be as awful as I thought.
Vagabonding, as it turns out, is much more of an attitude than a specific distance away from home. Portland Maine, which I once pretentiously considered uninteresting small town USA, is actually a hidden New England gem jam packed with a bustling downtown, incredible food and new people, and is just a stone’s throw from mountains, beaches, and all of the “adventure” that I thought would be absent upon arriving home. What needs changing is my attitude about this place, not the place itself.
My first adventure will be a weekend jaunt up the Maine coast to places that have been in my backyard for 25 years. I met people on the other side of the world who laughed at the idea that a “Mainer” had never visited such treasured sites as Boothbay Harbor, Acadia National Park and Maine’s beloved Popham beach.
Where do you live? Have you explored your own hometowns in the same way you’ve explored exotic destinations across the world?